I’m a bit of a Craigslist obsessive – I love to find new furniture, bring it into my home, and make it beautiful. I have so much fun searching for new finds and looking for ways to make them fit into our home.
A perfect example is the mid-century coffee table I bought on Craigslist a while back. I loved that little table, and it worked perfectly when we lived in a duplex. Then, we moved into our new house and suddenly it was looking pretty small and sad in our larger living room. But, the beauty of Craigslist finds is that they’re inexpensive and it doesn’t stress me out to keep hacking them – so sometimes, once they’ve run their course in my home, I decide to give them a second life as something else.
We were inspired by the legs on our original table, but we knew we needed something a little larger to fit in the living room. We also wanted something with a bit of padding, because our giant couch is perfect for lounging but we didn’t have anywhere soft for our feet to land.
We started off by taking the table apart…
And we grabbed some retro tweed-like fabric for the top.
Now, I can’t sew at all so I enlisted the help of my craft sister, who inherited the sewing gene in our family. I’ll do my best to walk you through how she sewed the top for me.
It was honestly a much simpler process than I thought it would be.
We She measured out the fabric for the top and sides of the cushion, adding a few inches to the side so we could pull it underneath the ottoman, then cut that out. Then, she made piping with a long strip of fabric and the cording we got from Joann’s.
I won’t pretend like I really know what I’m doing in explaining this, but the basics were this: she sewed the piping to the top, then she sewed the four sides together in a rectangle. Then, she sewed the sides to the top (that was already attached to the piping), and we were good to go!
The top with the piping sewn on
The sides pinned on, ready to be sewn!
What was I doing while my sister was doing all the work? Why, I was making buttons!
We bought a button making kit at Joann, which (should have) made the process pretty easy. Our fabric was technically entirely too thick to make buttons, but Jennifer has a nice little button press that made the job possible – my tip if you’re making buttons is to NOT buy a super thick fabric!
Luckily, after quite a bit of frustration and almost giving up, I made a button!
And after even more work (but less frustration!), I had 12.
While my sister and I were sewing and button-making, Corey was back at the house getting the bones of the ottoman ready.
All we did for this was buy a piece of MDF from Lowe’s (they cut it for us for free!) and attach the legs to it with some wood glue and a screw through the top side. Easy peasy.
We knew we were going to be adding button tufting, so now was the time for us to mark out and drill holes for the buttons. We were planning on doing a 3×4 grid, so we did some quick math, measured, drew lines, and drilled.
Once the wood glue had a few hours to set on the ottoman, we were ready to start putting it together. We started by attaching 2″ foam to the MDF with spray adhesive, and wrapping that with 1″ batting.
At this point, we took the table into the living room and put it in place to make sure we were happy with the padding. We had tossed around the idea of getting more batting to make the padded part a bit more substantial, but once we saw it in the room we decided we were really happy with how it looked.
So, onto the fabric!
This upholstery job was a bit more precise than the ones we have done in the past, since we had to line up the corners and piping perfectly. We stapled once into each of the sides and flipped it over to make sure we liked it, and then we started actually attaching the rest of the fabric.
We were happy with how it lined up, so we got to work. The corners are always the trickiest part of any upholstery project, so we made sure to take our time – it’s hard to explain how to do it, but it’s very similar to wrapping a present.
Soon enough, the fabric was all attached, so we cut off the excess and got ready for the next step:
We already had drilled the holes, so the process was extremely easy. I threaded the 6″ needle with upholstery thread (that’s the important part – you have to get thread thick enough to handle how tight you’ll be pulling it), and pushed it through a hole and all the way through to the top of the ottoman. Then, I threaded a button on and pushed the needle back up through the hole (that’s the hardest part – lining it up correctly, but it never took me more than 2 or 3 tries).
Then, all you have to do is pull it tight – tighter if you want a deeper tuft – and staple the thread down in a few places.
Once we had all the buttons done, it was time for the last step – the bottom piping, which happens to be the one part I sewed myself! This part is sewn ahead of time (as you can see below, it’s just the cording with some fabric sewn around it), and stapled on at the very end.
We were shocked at how much more polished the bottom piping made it look. Very tailored.
We love it even more with the giant tray we recently picked up at West Elm – it adds a nice hard surface for drinks, but it doesn’t take up the whole thing.
We’re in love.
This project was much simpler than I expected it to be, and it was so gratifying to be able to create this brand new piece of furniture basically from scratch! This was a great reminder to me that even when I think a piece of furniture has served its purpose in our home, there may be a way to give it a second life as an entirely new piece!